So, I got a call from our dear friend Pivot while I was out in my armor seeing to a little business. She must have gotten worried about me. It’s like how parents on this Earth worry about what kids are doing as they hear things going on, but they only get paranoid when they realize they can no longer hear the children. I’m not offended at comparing myself to a child in this instance, however, because chocolate milk is fucking great. You won’t believe the work I had to do to be able to digest that delicious shit when I got here. The lactose tolerance mutation isn’t especially widespread where I’m from, but apparently chocolate lactose tolerance disappears around here when people get to the age when they can afford as much as they want.
Anyway, call from Pivot.
“Hello Psycho Gecko. Where have you been?”
“Aww, Pivot. Nice to hear you’re concerned. What, did you just get done carpet bombing Coney Island looking for me?”
“I’m just making sure you didn’t give up already. Did Newark make you realize just what you’re facing? A whole organization of Newarks, backed with even more supervillains? How often can you get lucky?”
“You really want to know the answer to that? Because I can find a whorehouse if you need me to count.”
She chuckled. “I thought you had all the pussy you ever needed between your legs from how aggressively you have pursued us.”
“Oooh, trying to insult me by claiming I’m a woman, are you? Well, little miss anti-feminist, let me just remind you of something…you have boobs!”
There came a mock gasp over the phone. I cut her off before she could fire off another retort in this back and forth we had going on.
“So…by the way…New Orleans is nice this time of year. It’s got this interesting scent in the air. Smells like drowning. I hope you’re good at coordinating. Can’t wait to see what remnants of your Annihilation Eight would be like with a little magic on their side. It’s going to be fun smashing open this place you sent Moai to. The Ziggurat. Don’t know why you called it that, either. Looks like your average amusement park, if a bit wetter than normal. So, now that you know where I am, are you going to send your worst?”
“Give me a little time and you’ll have as much of the Eight as I can get there.”
“Good. Figured if I gave a little notice, I could get you all in one place. Think you can manage it in five hours, old sport?”
“Five hours? You’re on.”
I hung up. “Moron,” I said.
“What was that?” Max asked.
I dropped to my armored booty so I was sitting on the railroad tracks. Turns out I could have made the trip to New Orleans a lot quicker if I’d headed toward Chicago and tailgated a train the whole way down. I looked at Max, who was putting the finishing touches on this sprayer we’d stolen from a car wash.
“Just calling her a moron. She took the bait.”
He handed off a wrench to Sam and wiped his hands on a towel offered by Holly. “Why are you baiting her anyway?”
“Lots of reasons. It gives me a chance to take out some more members of her Eight. It will help spread chaos throughout this Ziggurat and other locations. Most of all, though, it’s about rubbing it in that I can do whatever I want no matter how many people she has on her side that want to kill me. Maybe make them piss their pants when they realize how inevitable an ass-whoopin’ is once I’m on scene. ‘You’d better start praying when you see him coming!’ to quote one of our favorite musicals, right?”
“’Cause tonight it’s curtains, you’re the night surgeon’s.’ That one always got to Good Doctor. Now we know why, though, right?”
Max was referring to what we had learned about the third man of our group. His life story had turned out to have a few uncomfortable similarities to that movie, it turned out. Dead wife. An old friend to blame. A daughter turned against him by that old friend. Good Doctor was pretty damn good at what he did, but he wasn’t quite as into it as Max or I am. Last I heard, he was in jail and happy to stay there, occasionally helping out his hero daughter with information. Paying for his crimes.
Bah. They’d see a lot more people pay for their crimes if the other option wasn’t staying in jail until they died of old age.
“Yeah, I guess we do know now. That thing’s ready?”
“Uh huh. Now all you have to do is grab your ride.”
“What are you three going to do while I’m playing around with Hephaestus?”
Max pulled open his jacket enough to show an assortment of flasks, vials, and bottles. “I promised Holly and Sam we’d pay a visit to the French Quarter for a good time. Isn’t that right, ladies?”
Holly and Sam nodded.
“Just a good time? “
Sam giggled. I never thought she was much of a giggler. “A good time and a little friendly mass hysteria.”
“Try not to completely wreck the city for me, you party animals,” I told them.
With a salute from Holly, they were off to go do that voodoo that they do in my car. I knew Bourbon Street would be making the papers soon. The scientific papers. As for me, I was off running the rails. We had set up the sprayer along a portion of abandoned track to the eastern part of New Orleans that took it awfully close to the flooded-out amusement park that hid the Ziggurat, a secret Faustus base that accepted deliveries from Hephaestus. Moai wouldn’t still be at their one of their logistics locations, I figured but I was prepared to tear apart their fucking newspaper delivery boys if it would send a message like this one. Along with adding the sprayer, we made a few alterations to the track to ramp things up for our big attack. All that was left was to catch the train. Gotta catch ‘em all, trainemon!
After a quick stop off to grab a big, heavy crate, I arrived at the station sweaty, but heavily armed. And in disguise. As rotund a fellow as I appeared to be, the staff knew they had little choice but to load up my heavy piece of luggage for me. What I took issue with was how slowly they were getting around to it. I didn’t have all day. I had places to go, people to kill. I had to bomb the place before they scrambled all their defenses and tried to intercept me with giant three-headed gerbils or whatever Pivot and Faustus could come up with.
Still, I used that time to figure out what system I needed to breach to adjust the turn signals along the track. Good thing, too. That lazy staff of theirs couldn’t get off their asses to load my luggage without a little goading and threatening, but they had no trouble getting antsy and agitated about some random civilian in the driver’s cabin of their train.
I turned to them and dropped my disguise, revealing to them the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko! “I’d love to stay and chat, but like the heroin addict said, it’s time to get back on track! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m loco, and I’m in motion.”
It was funny watching them all chase after me, but it occurred to me that I’d better address the passengers. “Yeah, hey there passengers. This is your captain speaking. The flight attendants should be by shortly to show you what to do in the event of a crash. Listen up, folks, because you’re definitely going to need to know this shit. We’re running a bit late today and I’m fucked up, so don’t expect to get wherever you’re going on time.”
Then it was time for the mood music over the PA system and my suit. Just a little something I had in mind to keep everyone calm and sane during my little hijacking. A dandy little tune called “Crazy Train” by a guy named Ozzy Osbourne.
Feel free to follow along at home. Come on, if you were in my position, wouldn’t you try to make the experience as awesome as possible? Just because I was stealing a train, and kidnapping people, and planning to get them all killed, and planning to kill more people at the abandoned park I was going to crash the train into doesn’t mean I had to be all mopey about it. I could at least try to have fun with it. Otherwise, what’s the point? You know, aside from fighting back against some evil assholes who didn’t want to pay me what they owed. But still, there’s no reason I needed to put on a growly voice and cry about not saving people just because I was defending myself. Aggressively. With a hijacked train.
After making sure the cabin was locked up, I charged up a fist and jumped up, bursting through the cabin roof and landing on the top. To keep my footing, I knelt and held onto the hole in the roof, at least until I saw we were approaching the turn. That’s when I got ready. As soon as we rumbled past the turn, I set the sprayer to warm up and start coming online.
We raced down the tracks for the sprayer, which was all set to go apply a little more awesome to the situation. As I was already awesome enough, I jumped and flipped over it, landing on the newly-pained roof and nearly sliding off. Once again, all my problems were solved by shoving my fist into the right hole. The roof hole, this time, not one of the really fun ones. You know the ones I mean.
As I stood up, I saw the effects of the spray as it warped the train’s metal exterior. I had Max installing this thing over the tracks, after all. The front shifted into a harlequin extending his arms to give the two finger salute. That’s two middle fingers, for those not in the know. All along the sides of the train, scenes appeared over a scaled backing. Batman riding a shark while holding a lightsaber. Abraham Lincoln riding a bear and holding an M16. Captain America punching Adolf Hitler. A gorilla riding a jet, jousting with a Tyrannosaurus Rex that rode another jet. The T-Rex seemed to be at a disadvantage, I thought. Little arms. Hard to hold and maneuver a lance. A small man with a spear dodging a mountain of a man who came at him with a greatsword held in one hand. The top of the train grew a shark’s fin. Almost boring in comparison, I know. At least it was a giant shark’s fin, topped with a hand giving a third middle finger to anyone in the path of it.
That was what condition we were in when the train hit the ramp Max and I set into the ground and went airborne, aiming for a ride called the Jester. To be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of aiming left to do at that point. All I had to do was make sure we hit in the right spot, and arm the F-bomb. The people scurrying around down there didn’t have much of a chance.
Or so I thought until one of them made some frantic gestures and said something weird that resonated in the air. Then there was this weird glow from scattered buildings in the park and explosions tore through the air. Odd thing was, the explosions left behind holes. Dark holes. The train plunged through one such hole.
Instantly, I found myself and the train hurtling through the air over a city. There were a pair of shiny people floating there surrounded by more conventional superhumans. A golden man with long hair and a silver woman both glanced my way as we fell in their direction. They piqued my interest too as my HUD instantly displayed that they were dimensional anomalies. The silver woman nodded and another portal opened up above them, sending us into the air in another weird place. This time, we appeared in some weird ruins with a giant white and gold monster trying to hit some woman in a skintight black outfit who was trying to pull of some weird incantation that involved her hair moving around like tentacles. We smacked into one wing-like appendage of the thing enough that the woman was able to finish and another portal opened. We passed some giant warped crow thing that came flying out to pluck out an eye of that monster with its beak.
I don’t know where that thing sent us to, but we were still airborne. This time, the land was all red and I read a spike in sulfur and other nasty chemicals that made for a nasty situation if anyone tried to breathe the air. Below us, modern tanks covered in a fog were shooting at demons. Some panicked flying demon saw us heading its way and turned, opening yet another portal before the train plunged through it, causing its body to erupt in a fireball.
Frustrated as I was, I was about ready to stop thinking with portals. It took us at least another three stops to get where we were going, too. It got real confusing. Would have sworn I saw this big blue box spinning by us, even. Police something or other. There was the outer space stop where we passed by a bunch of dragons flying toward a collection of space stations. Then there was a dimension where we flew over a New Orleans that looked all the same except everyone was dressed like a cowboy and I wasn’t around. It had another abandoned amusement-turned hidden underground magic base, but this time the portal that went up to protect them was accompanied by fewer explosions and a reverberating “Adíos!”
Finally, we were back in what seemed to be our correct planet, based on the numerous holes torn in the sky behind us and an internet search turning up a list of my exploits. Whatever portal trick they used couldn’t fire off a second time, either. I jumped off as the train made impact, breaking through to an underground compound with a wrenching cacophony of metal, concrete, and laughter. I provided the laughter. Well, technically I provided the metal too. Also, some cussing and a little more wrenching when I landed painfully on my legs.
Of course, a little cussing was already on the menu. It was the main course, in fact. And, as I hit the sound dampeners and tried to hobble my way to some good cover, I made sure they knew it was the bomb. The F-bomb.
It opened that place up. Collapsed it into a giant labyrinth of people and non-people things that were happy to be free and very hungry. Very, very hungry, or so I gathered from the way they began to nom on the people. I didn’t stick around too long, bum leg and all, but at least my mission was done.
It was just my little way of letting Faustus know I was in the neighborhood. It also made a nice welcome present for Pivot when her Annihilation Eight showed up.